All the news that was fit to print in 2001

North Kitsap was a bright star in ‘01.

The year 2001 was one of North Kitsap’s brightest yet and hopefully a sign of things to come as the region strides further into the new millennium. As a community, we showed spirit and pride in the wake of a terrorist attack on the nation. Residents here also exhibited the ability to move on and forward even as our military personnel shipped out of local ports.

Individual communities made huge strides of progress throughout the last 365 days and support in local programs, events, the environment and school activities was at an all-time high.

In short, 2001 was a banner year and one that individuals, families, civic organizations and businesses will likely remember as one of the better ones in the long history of North Kitsap.

Not looking so bad after one century.

The North Kitsap Herald broke the century mark and joined forces with members of the Poulsbo Historical Society and the community at large to celebrate the occasion. Efforts from the Herald and the PHS detailed the events, both momentous and minor, that made the area what it is today. Pioneers, heroes, civic leaders and organizations were highlighted as the two worked in concert to bring back the happenings of the past 100 years and present them in a readable, interesting fashion for a whole new generation of people to delight in. Photographs and research from Poulsbo Historical Society members made the monthly spreads in the Herald possible and were the driving forces behind the project as a whole.

The Jewel Box opens up and shines talent.

After months of preparation, the Poulsbo Players’ finally had a proper setting to display its collective talent when the Jewel Box Theatre opened at 225 Iverson. The group didn’t waste any time and quickly jumped in with both feet to create fantastic renditions of favorite plays. When terrorists attacked the United States on Sept. 11, the Poulsbo Players answered the call of those in need and canceled the production of “Skyscraper.” Instead, the community-minded organization went forward with the A. R. Gurney play “Love Letters,” donating $5,800 (100 percent of the proceeds) to the West Sound Chapter of the Red Cross. Numerous local businesses pitched in to make the event possible.

‘Opening the book’ to higher education.

It came down to the wire but even when it seemed that Olympic College Poulsbo was down to this final thread, supporters simply grabbed onto the concept of a college branch campus here even tighter. Their tenacity paid off though and months of head-butting and deliberation between officials from the city, the college and developers from Olhava Associates and First Western resulted in an official memorandum of understanding in November. The agreement marked the first real progress the proposed 20-acre branch campus had seen in over a year and set forth guidelines for infrastructure and construction which should be taking place in 2002. The project survived many trials last year, including the state’s temporary suspension of a $13 million funding grant and the resignation of long-time Olympic College president Karl Jonietz.

A new twist on an old concept.

Poulsbo’s transportation door opened a little wider this year as the historic Mosquito Fleet again floated into local waters. Unlike the former passenger-only service between North Kitsap and spots on the east side of the Puget Sound, the modern boats can make the crossing in about one hour. Interest in reinstating the Fleet flourished at the municipal level and a trial run from Little Norway to the Emerald City brought 133 people to the dock at the Port of Poulsbo for the ride.

Two great workers wrap up long careers.

This year, saw two of Poulsbo’s powerhouse workers bow out of the scene and enter retirement after enormous contributions to the community. Betty “Miss Mac” McGuire and Barbara Stuart logged more overtime at their jobs than many people have spent on the clock. Stuart worked for an amazing 34 years at Fishline Food Bank and was instrumental in not only starting the North Kitsap service but keeping it growing and flourishing over the past three decades. One of her final messages to the community prior to resigning from the 3rd Avenue business was, “I think we need to treat all people as equals — we’re all God’s children.” McGuire touched the lives of hundreds of kids during her 19-year career at Martha and Mary Child Care Services. She was one of the founding members of the Lutheran Services employee-sponsored child care program in 1981 and said she intended to continue to assist the local center in some capacity, noting that, “You just never let go of the children. I used to take kids to their first day of kindergarten and cry just like the mothers.”

More books, more space in Poulsbo.

The beautiful artwork may have been the icing on the cake but it was the community, volunteers and city officials who helped make sure Poulsbo’s refurbished Valborg Oyen Library was baked to perfection. The year-long expansion project, which more than doubled the space available at the previous building, showed everyone in North Kitsap the good that can be accomplished when people work toward a common, positive goal. The Lincoln Road facility officially opened its doors in January and has had a steadily growing stream of customers ever since. With all the various art to look and marvel at, one almost forgets that the library holds a greater number of books now than at any time in its long history.

Crowning two new queens in one year.

Poulsbo’s pageants were better than ever in 2001, with many talented young ladies making their way into the spotlight and the hearts of locals. Crowned as the respective queens of Little Norway were Miss Poulsbo Jeana Ostheller and Miss Viking Fest Janna Murray. Viking Fest princesses were Ashley Bean and Megan Greenfield. Ostheller, who recently braved nasty weather at the Sons of Norway Yul Fest, never gave up on her quest for the crown and proved after two unsuccessful bids that the third time is indeed the charm.

Between a rock and a hard place.

Port of Poulsbo took its first major steps toward resolving a sloughing rock wall which currently serves as a buffer for Waterfront Park. The retaining wall has been eroding into Liberty Bay since it was built 25 years ago and has caused problems for the port because it has endangered docks and slips at the marina, which are used to moor boats. Port commissioners are working with engineers, environmental specialists and the City of Poulsbo to rectify the problem before it gets too far along. The city is interested in repairing the buffer because it owns the park in question. Additionally, Waterfront Park is one of Poulsbo’s most popular sites and home to countless annual events and celebrations The organizations involved laid a solid groundwork in 2001 and hope to make substantial progress this year as well.

The people speak out at the polls.

Election fever gripped Poulsbo residents as political powers were thrown up for grabs this November. Nearly every available position at the city, with the exception of councilman Ed Stern’s seat, was challenged and incumbents were forced to run the gauntlet in order to defend their ground.

When the dust settled, the people had chosen to re-elect council members Dale Rudolph and Jim Henry but ousted eliminated incumbent Connie Lord in favor of former and now future councilwoman Kathryn Quade.

Port of Poulsbo’s incumbent commissioners faced similar hurdles but both Tony DeCarlo and Glenn Gilbert held fast in what turned out to be very close races.

Green thumbs up for environment.

Nearshore habitat work days, planting, clean ups, informational events supporting the sensitive waters of Liberty Bay and Dogfish Creek were prevalent in 2001. It seemed like just about everyone in North Kitsap was getting into the act last year to give Mother Nature a hand. In the same vein, a new park sprouted up at the former site of the oyster plant and the Poulsbo City Council approved a new community garden concept at Raab Park. This year, the new P-Patch will allow local green thumbs to show their stuff by planting their own vegetables at the popular location.

Reacting to tragedy with true patriotism.

The fact that most retailers in North Kitsap ran out of the Red, White and Blue with in days of the terrorist attacks in New York City, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C. on Sept. 11 was a testament that residents here were swelling with the renewed patriotism that took the nation by storm. Soon, Old Glory was everywhere, on cars, trucks, hats, shirts, private residences, businesses and even flag poles. Groups like the Poulsbo Players and American Legion and businesses like the Dancing Brush were at the forefront of the local movement in Little Norway to show terrorists everywhere that they can’t keep a good country down.

Midsummer Fest is reborn in Poulsbo.

Making sure that Poulsbo wouldn’t watch the sunset on the summer solstice without a party, the Sons of Norway quickly revived the traditional celebration of Midsummer Fest. The highly popular event, which was canceled after a number of years at Raab Park, boasted traditional family fun and games. Topping the list of things to do at the new festival was the fish toss where contestants hurled several different-sized dogfishes into a bucket some distance away.

Growing pains that finally came to an end.

After seven long years of anguish, Poulsbo’s Urban Growth Area battle finally began to show signs of ending. In late-November, the city council and the Kitsap County Commissioners held what was the last of many public hearings on the long-running issue. Commissioners in mid-December decided that much of the high-controversial rural lands of Finn Hill would be included in the UGA, ending some eight years of debate on the topic. The final plan faces some further review from city and county attorneys in 2002 but the major sticking point of the plan, the boundary was finally put to rest.

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